A new year is quickly approaching, and it’s usually our intention to make exercise and stress-reduction a priority. Unfortunately, we get side tracked and our health and fitness goals somehow fall by the wayside. However, for 2018, a healthy body and mind can be yours (and simply!) if you choose to follow these 4 pleasant ways to practice yoga.
Happy Yoga New Year!
Most of us already understand the benefits of practicing yoga. But there’s no harm in offering some friendly reminders. Health experts and exercise advocates can probably come up with at least 50 reasons why it’s essential to your overall health. Here are just a few main advantages included in your new-year yoga practice:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Builds muscle strength
- Improves posture
- Protects spine
- Increases ability to focus
- Improves balance
- Relieves tension and anxiety
- Promotes better sleep
- Boosts immune system
- Decreases pain and inflammation
Yoga is clearly healing to the body, but it is also incredibly beneficial for the mind. It’s a holistic practice in where everything is connected. For example, garnering better posture opens up your lungs and allows you to breathe more deeply, naturally. More oxygen into your blood improves your nervous system. You then become more relaxed and hopefully more content!
Practicing Can Be Pleasant
All too often we think of exercise and then, we think, “Ugh, I don’t want to do it!” But, yoga should be a joy—and it can be. For 2018, change your mindset to, “I want to do it. It keeps me healthy and I feel good!” And, it will be easy for you to have this attitude because practicing yoga can be enjoyable and rewarding.
Here are 4 perfectly pleasant ways to practice:
1) Set up a relaxing, clean space. You don’t have to invest in décor, statues, lighting, or a home with an extra bedroom. All you need is a comfy, clean area where no one will interrupt your dedicated time while in your space. Lighting and ventilation are important, but you can burn a candle or leave a window slightly open (as long as there’s no traffic noise.)
Also, keep your mat clean. It makes a difference when you are stretching or lying down.
(Think of nice clean sheets on your bed.)
Making a Great Start Even Better…
2) Begin with gratitude from the very beginning. Whether you are rushing into the yoga studio or anxious to grab a break in your home space, take a moment to breathe and center yourself before entering. You want your practice to start from a place of compassion and gratitude. This is a precious time and you will be glad you enter into it from a positive and calmer place, making the entire experience more pleasant.
3) Bring only yourself to your practice. Leave material objects and worries of the world outside your yoga time and space. Therefore, if you’re going to class, just bring a mat. Most studios provide blocks, blankets, and whatever else you might want or need. The idea is lighten your load, physically and mentally.
Do not bring your phone or have your phone on you whenever practicing. Finish whatever task you were doing before you enter. Allow yourself complete freedom of experience. Forget a watch or clock. If you have a given amount of time, you can always set an alarm outside your space. Honor the pleasant simplicity.
4) Choose 4 favorite poses. Many suggest you begin your practice in a “do nothing doll” or “corpse” position. Just lie down, stop moving, and connect to your breath. Then, start out with four different poses that you love and that help your body feel good. You will be way more inclined to anticipate your yoga session if you already associate it with enjoyment and pleasure.
Most of all, yoga should never feel like an obligation. It is a gift you are giving to your body and mind. So take note when you are stretching or posing what feels the best. Start your session with those poses and you’ll be more apt to make time with a positive attitude.
Even though we make promises every year, sticking to your practice can be a success in 2018. Approaching your commitment with simplicity and a feeling of pleasantry can make all the difference. Best of body, mind, and spirit to you today—and everyday!